Posted by Chuck on July 16, 2015

Published on July 16th, 2015 | by Chuck


Car Rental Insurance: Are Priceline Rentals Covered by the Credit Card?

Many credit cards offer a car rental insurance benefit which covers the cost of the rental car in case of an accident.

We wondered whether Priceline or Hotwire rentals would qualify for this insurance benefit. In the case of car rentals done through these sites, the site itself (e.g. Priceline) typically charges the card and they make their own payment arrangements with the car rental agency.

  • Is there any requirement that the credit card needs to be charged directly with the rental agency in order to be eligible for the insurance benefit?

A quick Google search turned up inconclusive results and we decided to reach out to the card issuers directly to verify this issue.

All issuers that we heard from replied in the affirmative: Booking on Priceline will still be eligible for the insurance benefit.

We heard from:

  • Amex (“Coverage…would apply for rentals booked on travel aggregator sites”)
  • Chase (“rental insurance…is still valid when booking through a third party site”)
  • Citi (“Car rental benefits still apply”)
  • Discover (“coverage would apply”)

All the replies were via email, aside from Citi who replied via Twitter.

Note: At the time of rental, the rental agency always asks for a credit card. It’s worth showing the same card which was used on Priceline so that there isn’t any confusion in the event of an accident.

Other Things to Remember

  • The entire cost of the rental needs to be charged on the credit card. Any sort of splitting the charge (if that’s even possible) can invalidate insurance.
  • More importantly, paying partially with a gift card will probably invalidate the insurance benefit (unless it’s coded as a discount and not payment).
  • Credit card insurance benefit is only Collission Damage Waiver (CDW) – it only covers damage to the rental vehicle. Liability is a separate issue and is not included.
  • If you have a car insurance plan of your own it’s likely that you’ll be covered for rentals as well. Reach out to your insurance agent to verify this.
  • Most credit cards only offer secondary coverage. This means that they’ll only cover in the event that there is no other coverage available. If you have your own car insurance, you’ll be forced to go through them and won’t be able to make a claim with the credit card. You should be able to recoup the deductible from the credit card coverage.
  • Certain countries may be excluded from having the insurance benefit. Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand are often excluded.

7 Responses to Car Rental Insurance: Are Priceline Rentals Covered by the Credit Card?

  1. HC says:

    “Any sort of splitting the charge (if that’s even possible) can invalidate insurance.”

    It’s possible when you wreck your own car and your insurer puts you up in a rental car, but makes you pay x% or taxes or whatever. If you wreck that car then you can’t claim damage with the credit card since someone else (your insurance company) is paying part of the bill.

  2. Alfred says:

    Nothing beats the AMEX Premier Car Rental Protection for $19.95/ $24.95 for continuous coverage of 42 days.

    • jonathan says:

      CSP & United Explorer provide free 31 days primary CDW.

      • escot says:

        Precisely why I’m using my United Explorer presently for all our summer car rental needs…. business and personal. That primary coverage is VERY important.

        Wondering though about the claim (scam?) that some car rental agencies use (I’m talking about you Payless in Orlando, Thrifty in Salt Lake) where they try to tell you that, “according to… law,” your credit card and insurance company plans will not cover you from “mandatory” out-of-service charges for the vehicle while it’s being repaired. (and they then proceed to try to sell you an outrageously expensive coverage per day)

      • mike says:

        can you please explain this? I’m forced to rent a car for my upcoming trip and I have AAA insurance and a CSP. What happens if the rental is damaged( scratched, dented, destroyed)? Thanks.

  3. Joshua says:

    The other year I rented a car through Priceline and paid with a Capital One Visa credit card. My card was damaged by hail. Visa paid the secondary charges that my primary auto insurance did not pay.

  4. escot says:

    Great post Chuck. Lots of “devils” potentially in the details, and you’ve helpfully cleared up one if renting via priceline.

    Another insurance/card travel question: I’ve wondered if card provided life insurance coverage/benefits apply while flying and using points for the trip. Most of my domestic travel is on Southwest, and I pay for these flights with points or companion pass. Yet for each flight, there’s the required gov’t taxes and fees to pay. (the only out-of-pocket expense) In those cases, would the life benefit still be available — if those fees paid for with a given card? (one that has the death benefit for travel paid for with card.)

    Pardon a morbid subject, and one hopefully never needed. Any clarity on this?

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